Are you a multitasker with an interest in healthcare and the patient experience? Do you see yourself as a team player above all else? Are you interested in one of the fastest growing careers in healthcare today? If so, Allegany College of Maryland's Medical Assistant program is designed with you in mind.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics.
In Demand | Medical assisting is one of the nation's careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, attributing job growth to the following:
- Predicted surge in the number of physicians' offices and outpatient care facilities
- Technological advancements
- Growing number of elderly Americans who need medical treatment
Medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties. Here is a quick overview (duties vary from office to office depending on location, size, specialty, and state law):
Administrative Duties (may include, but not limited to):
- Using computer applications
- Answering telephones
- Greeting patients
- Updating and filing patient medical records
- Coding and filling out insurance forms
- Scheduling appointments
- Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
- Handling correspondence, billing, and bookkeeping
Clinical Duties (may include, but not limited to):
- Taking medical histories
- Explaining treatment procedures to patients
- Preparing patients for examination
- Assisting the physician during exams
- Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
- Performing basic laboratory tests
- Instructing patients about medication and special diets
- Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician
- Authorizing prescription refills as directed
- Drawing blood
- Taking electrocardiograms
- Removing sutures and changing dressings
Patient Liaison: Medical assistants are instrumental in helping patients feel at ease in the physician's office and often explain the physician's instructions.
PCMH Team Member: Medical assistants are essential members of the Patient-Centered Medical Home team. According to a survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, medical assistants ranked as one of the top five professionals necessary to the PCMH team.
Because medical assistants play a key role in helping patients feel at ease in the office, you'll need to possess excellent communication skills, display professionalism, and possess a courteous, pleasant demeanor.
Medical Assistant program students are welcome to take part in our Medical Assistant Club. During final semester of our program, we encourage you to join the American Association of Medical Assistants.
Upon completing our program, you'll qualify for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assistant.
The ACM Medical Assistant program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Maryland residents from counties other than Allegany County who register in this eligible program will be charged the out-of-county tuition rate. However, these students may be eligible to receive reimbursement for a portion of the cost difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition rates. Funding availability for this program is based on funding from the state of Maryland and is thus subject to change each semester. Some restrictions apply. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
The Allegany College of Maryland Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763, upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board. (MAERB)
- Human anatomy, physiology, and pathology
- Medical Terminology
- Computer applications
- Electronic Health Records
- Coding and insurance processing
- Laboratory techniques
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- EKG testing
- Medication administration
- First Aid and CPR
- Office practices and administration
- Patient education
- Medical law, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and ethics
- Practicum experience*
*A practicum experience is part of our Medical Assistant program. To prepare you for real world medical assisting experiences, you'll spend 220 hours in ambulatory care facilities.
The program costs beyond tuition, fees, and textbooks are approximately $500 for uniforms, liability insurance, and achievement tests during the 2 years of study.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations. This boom is tied to the increase in the number of physicians' offices, clinics, and out-patient facilities as a result of technological advances in healthcare and the aging Baby Boomer population.
Medical Assistant program graduates enjoy enriching and rewarding careers as:
- Administrative Medical Assistants
- Medical Assistants
- Medical Coders and Billers
- Patient Navigators
With certification, experience or additional training/education, medical assistants have opportunities to advance to:
- Clinical supervisors
- Laboratory support professionals (CLIA-waive testing)
- Office managers
Although many states do not require certification, we encourage our Medical Assistant program graduates to take the certification exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to earn a nationally recognized credential of CMA (AAMA). [The CMA (AAMA) is considered the "gold standard" of medical assisting professionalism.] During the academic year of 2009-2010, our Medical Assistant program graduates had a 100% certification exam pass rate.
More information regarding this exam is available from:
The American Association of Medical Assistants
20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
Chicago, IL 60606-2903
View Salary Information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor
A.S., Columbus Technical Institute
B.S., Western Michigan University
M.Ed., Frostburg State University
Additional graduate study at West Virginia University
A.A., Allegany College of Maryland
B.S., M.Ed., Frostburg State University
B.S., University of Cincinnati
Associate of Applied Arts, Allegany College of Maryland
Coursework Pennsylvania State University